Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For unto us a child is born, and a Son is given...
Did you ever wonder why? Why a baby, why a manger, why then. Why did God become flesh and dwell among us?
Many voices this time of year, at least with the "Church", say it was because of love. For God so loved the world Christ was born. yet Christmas is deeper then that. Christ was born for the glory of God, to show forth his eternal greatness, which played its self out in mercy, and love, and the cross. This season is about God and his glory, it's about us only in light of this fact.
We are a wicked people, God hatters, fallen, broken, and rebellious lot. Its for this reason Christ was born. He was born to show the greatness of God in loving and redeeming a people for himself. In one sense He came because he loved us, yet in another he came because were so wicked. Jesus was born so that he would die, and in dieing would take out our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. He would absorb the wrath of the Father for our sins. An eternal punishment swallowed up by an eternal God.
This season, let us glorify God, and his greatness. May we be lost in him, and not the temporary gifts, food and family. And may we be humbled, that this season wasn't about us. It's about the glory of God. Jesus came to glorify his Father, and by this one act we received mercy upon mercy.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Instead lets go to Acts. I know a lot of Oneness people like using the book of Acts since it's "historical", and a practical way of walking out the gospel truths.
In Acts 7 we read about the first martyr of the Church. What we know of Stephen is little. He was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, He was of a good repute, and was willing to serve in the daily distributions of the church as was needed.
We also know from Acts 6 the he was full of grace and power, doing great wonders and signs among the people. We also know that his opponents could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
Luke gives Stephen a lot of space in Acts, he gives Stephen a chapter and then some. Stephen also gives the longest ‘sermon’ in the book.
Summary: Stephen was a man of God who was able by the Holy Spirit to do great miracles and preach/refute those who apposed the Gospel of Christ.
Now we come to the end of this godly mans life, he just finished a historical overview of Israel history, and then rebukes the Jews, which in a way, sentenced him to death. It is here we pick up.
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Remember this is a Historical account. Stephen is full of the HOLY SPIRIT, he looks up into heaven and sees the glory of God. JESUS is standing at the right hand of GOD, and then Stephen repeats this SON of MAN standing at the right hand of GOD.
There is three different ‘persons’: The Holy Spirit is in Stephen, Jesus/Son of Man (a term Jesus applied to himself in the Gospels) is Standing. Were is he standing? In heaven next to and at the right hand of God.
Remember this his a historical account of the Gospel being walked out in every day life within the early church. Stephen sees both the Son, and the Father in heaven, and is at the same time filled with the Spirit.
We see all three of the God head. The Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Notice All three are present at the first martyrs death. Stephen doesn’t see just God, or just see Jesus, he sees both.
Also notice the singular usage of the word God “Glory of God” and then the other Nouns used. Either this is a picture of God, filled with the Spirit, Jesus, God the Father, or you left to believe that the Spirit is just a force, Jesus isn’t really God since he only stands next to him in heaven.
Yes I agree that the word Trinity is not used in the bible, but what it represents is. Sometimes one needs to use extra biblical words to help frame a correct meaning of a biblical concept because words can be slippery things. For example: if I asked a Mormon, Catholic, Pentecostal, or a Jehovah witness are you a Christian the all would say yes. It’s only till they say Mormon, Pentecostal, or catholic that I now were their coming from and if they really are “in” the faith.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Here is a few monuments in my faith journey:
At a young age I can remember wanting to know Jesus more, and desiring to worship him. When I was 10 (1987) there was a message given at our summer family camp that was titled ‘crossing the blood line.’ I remember the sermon, and also the call to fallow Christ and that night Christ became more real then before. I had a desire to know Christ in a deeper more personal way.
Later on in life I attended Christ for the Nations bible school. I went there for mainly music, since they had a good music program. It was at that school that I received more of a hunger to know him and to started walking towards ministry. I was at a music conference when I felt a call to missions and ministry.
After I was married, my wife and I attended a bible school that taught the Inductive Method on how to study the bible. We used the Inductive Method and made our way through the sixty six books of the Bible. The result was amazing. It was the first time I realized who I was in Christ, and what he’s done for me. Up to that point I felt all I was ever given was baby food, and all of a sudden I found myself in a buffet of grandeur.
I realized what it really meant to be saved by grace, and what my sins really did, and the price Christ paid for me on the cross. I was a sinner, who if given justice would be in hell. God would be an unrighteous judge to just forgive me of my trespass against him. Yet he made a way to forgive me and still be just. Not because I was worthy of his love and mercy but because out of his abounding love he had mercy on me. He sentenced his Son to the cross for my sin, Isaiah tells us, “We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” again Isaiah tells us, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him”. Christ became the propitiation for my sins. Luther called it the great exchange, I received Christ righteousness and he received the penalty for my sins. Christ boar the wrath of God on the cross that should have been mine!
I John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Faith alone, through grace alone, because of Christ alone.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The opening of Mark start off with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. Gospel means good news, Mark is letting us know right away that what he is writing about is the good news of Jesus Christ.
It’s interesting that right away Mark ties in the Old Testament with the New in quoting Isaiah. Mark ties in the message of the good news with an older message, a message of promise a message of hope. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of a Messiah who would come forth after Gods messenger crying out in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight.”
John was the fulfillment of the prophesy. His ministry was one of repentance, calling on all to repent and confess their sins. Mark doesn’t come right out and say, “Johns the forerunner, but he tells us Johns doing his ministry in the wilderness and that he has proclaimed a "mightier one," who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Isaiah words are a summery of the life of John the Baptist.
Notice that Mark emphasis that the ministry of Johns was inferior to Jesus. Mark tells us that Jesus is mightier then John, John is not even worthy of stooping down to untie Jesus sandals. Mark is writing his view of the gospel around 60-64 AD. Mark writes during a time of persecution of the Church under Nero, the Roman Emperor at that time. Mark may have been pointing out Johns lower status then Jesus do to a possible conflict about Johns Message and Jesus Message. We don’t know for sure but there are hints in Acts of John the Baptist teachings spreading as far as Ephesus without the knowledge of the fulfillment of Johns message, that is the good news found in Christ.
Paul in the book of Acts runs into some disciples of John, yet they didn’t know of Jesus (Acts19:1-3). They new only Johns baptism, a baptism that was meant to prepare their hearts to follow Jesus. Mark may of put this reference to John in his letter not only because Johns life intersects with Jesus, but also because he’s pointing out that Jesus was the focus of Johns proclamation. John is inferior to Christ, to the point that John himself even mentions, “after me comes he who is mightier than I…”
There may have been some disciples of John the Baptist, that Mark had in mind when writing similar to those faced by Paul in Ephesus. Mark may be here letting them know, that what they have is inferior to Christ and that even in the mist of persuction, they need to aline themselfs with Jesus, for it's in him that true forgivness is found.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Up and coming posts will deal with the Smallest of the four gospels. We are studying this book in our small group (which I'm not leading), but I still will be studying it as if I was. Which should be interesting considering my over loaded schedule. But to God be the glory and may we be counted faithful in are pursuit of knowing Him and making Him known.
So once again it's time to take up the sword and sharpen it for battle against my flesh and all of it's desires.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Psalm 21 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
3"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."
4He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
7I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."
10Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
(This is a response to Pyromaniacs blog which can be found here. The topic is "signs and wonders". This was posted as in the response part of their blog)
Mark Driscoll considers himself to be a charismatic with a seat belt, I would consider my self a continualist in a straight Jacket.
I can't see in the scriptures were the gifts have been done away with.
Does God still heal? Yes.
Does He still Speak? Yes. (I say yes because the bible still speaks) as far as the usual charismatic usage of prophesy I have serious doubts.
Does God still do wonders. Yes.
What's more wonderful then an unregenerate becoming regenerated? which is harder?
I like the word continualist mainly
because it distances one from Charismatics.
One thing is very clear, and that is that signs and wonders mean nothing in and of themselves. Paul tells us in II Thes. 2:9 that the Man of Lawlessness does SaW, but Paul mentions in II Cor. 12:12 that he did SaW. SaW don't necessarily validate the messenger, but it can.
Jesus himself didn't put any trust in them (John 2:24-24). People don't get saved because of signs and wonders. Its by His calling and electing in love.
Hence I usual sound more like a 'Christian' as Frank turk said in jest.
But in times like these I side with John Piper. (thats called name dropping.) And see no reason for the ceasing of the gifts today.
(35.minute mark for the above DG sermon)
Sunday, August 31, 2008
An excerpt from J.P's Desiring God's blog.
"My view of God was too small and my view of myself was too big. I misinterpreted, 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."...What Paul means is not that I will know exhaustively the way God knows me, but rather I will know accurately the way God knows me. The point is not that I won't have limits to what I know, but rather I won't have mistakes in what I know."
I remember studying through 1 Corinthians in school and coming up to 13:12 and not knowing what to do with it. John Piper here i believe hits the nail on the head. When I die, and stand in the presence of God, I'll still have limits to my knowledge, but what I know of him will be right, flawless.
I wish it was so now...come Lord Jesus!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
"But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
There are times when I think, "Wow, I've really missed something". I ask myself the question, "do you really believe you have a "better possession, and an abiding one"?
To often this world has a foothold in my heart. whether it's money, trinkets, health or whatever...
I look at the early Church, the people Hebrews talks about, and see that they JOYFULLY accepted the plundering of their property, and I ask myself would I? And if not what does that tell me about myself?
It's in times of trials that our faith is really tested. I can say that I believe in the sovereignty of God in the easy times, but what about the hard? difficult times? I pray that God would allow me to stand in the day of trials, and that he would continue to strengthen my faith in his sovereignty before i walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
May Christ instill in us the Joy of that "better possession" the one that abides even in the hard times.
"May God strengthen our brothers and sisters in Orissa, India. May he grant them Joy in the mist of their sufferings and persecution, for they have a better possession and an abiding one."
Friday, August 29, 2008
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.
In the Gospel of John (the above quote) Jesus himself mentions "in me" and "apart from me".
"In me" refers to those who call on Christ, those who have placed there lives in his hands because they were made alive and responded to Christ. "Apart from me" = nothing. Those who haven't put there trust in Christ, regardless of what they can "do", in reality aren't doing anything.
The main concept I've been pondering over is that every aspect of our life is in Christ. Paul talks about "even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." (Eph 2)
combine this with what Jesus says in John 15 you get a great concept of spiritual regeneration.
The reason one can do nothing apart from Christ is that there "dead", and it's only in Christ that one is made "alive".
"In him was life, and the life was the light of men." Jesus is the only one who in and of himself has life. I as a created being have borrowed life from God, yet Christ didn't have to borrow life since he was life. Jesus life, is the light of men, or another way of saying it is 'the light of the world.'
That's why in the epistles you see the contrast of light and darkness, before Christ came we lived in darkness, but those of us who respond to his grace have been "transfered" into the kingdom of light. And that "light we know have is spiritual "life" because we are in Christ. Apart from Christ there is no life and no light, and you can do nothing...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Charismatics today would do well to hear the words of there Commander today, that is if He is there Commander and Lord.
This brings a sobering reminder that one can move in "power" (prophesying, mighty works, casting out demons) and still not be a child of God.
The question that should be asked is not, "Do you know Jesus" but, "Does Jesus know you?"
Sunday, August 17, 2008
What is the fear of God? What does it mean, and what doesn't it mean? Thomas Watson in his book "The Great Gain Of Godliness" gives us some clues. The fear of God isn't a sinful fear, it's not a superstitious fear or a carnal fear. This kind of fear produces a positive effect, producing reverence and adoration of Gods holiness. It's a fear produced by seeing the glory of God.
"Fear is the leading grace, the first seed God sows in the heart. When a Christian can say little of faith, and perhaps nothing of assurance, yet he dares not deny that he fears God. God Is so great that the Christian is afraid of displeasing him, and so good he is afraid of losing him." -Watson.
"There is a difference between fearing God, and being afraid of God; the godly fear God as a child does his father, the wicked are afraid of God as the prisoner is of the judge."-Watson.
Today may we who are called the 'Children of God', show a fear of God that's in accordance with who we are in Jesus. That is may we fear him in reverence instead of in wrath.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The next couple of days I'm going to be reading
"The Great Gain of Godliness"-Thomas Watson.
So for a while I'll be updating quotes from his book, so far it's a highly recommended book to read. Heres just a tidbit to wet your appetite for this book.
"That the profaneness of the times should not slacken but heighten our zeal. The looser others are, the stricter we should be. In those degenerate times when men were arrived at the acme and height of impudence, and dared to speak treason against heaven, 'then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another' (A quote from Malachi)...Athanasius stood up in the defense of the truth when the world was tuned Arian. The more outrageous others are in sin, the more courageous we should be for truth. When the atheists said, It is vain to serve God, then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another."-Watson
Friday, August 15, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
1:5 “Look Among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.
Habakkuk is complaining to God, and is asking why Israel isn’t being punished for her unfaithfulness to His Law. God Response is that he is raising up Babylon/Chaldean's to bring punishment on the nation.
13:41 “Look, you scoffers,
be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even
if one tells you”
Paul and Barnabas/companions, are in Antioch which is in the providence of Pisidia. On a Sabbath day they went to the synagogue, and while there they were ask if they had a word of exhortation for the people. Paul gives a historical rendition of Israels past, from Egypt to king David, and then proclaims Jesus as the fulfillment of that promise to David. Paul goes on to mention that the People in Jerusalem fulfilled the prophets by condemning Christ and had him crucified, but God raised him up from the dead.
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruptions, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be know to you therefore, bothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed form everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about”
Paul goes into the O.T Quote.
Notice that what God said in Habakkuk was able to come about in their day, even though the captivity of the Babylonians was past…by about 500+ years?
What does it mean?
The Context of Habakkuk is one of unfaithfulness to the law of God, because of this God is bringing the fulfillment of the Law which is “the removal of Israel from Canaan.” Unfaithfulness is producing Judgment.
Paul here is using the Habakkuk quote in the same context. The people he his “exhorting” have a choice, believe in the fulfillment of the Law which is Christ, or judgment will fallow. Paul here is alluding to the final judgment which is worse then the physical judgment that Israel received at the hand of the Babylonians.
Paul is telling his Jewish brothers to believe in Jesus. Forgiveness of sins is possible through this man, he’s the fulfillment of the O.T Law. If anyone doesn’t believes he’s bringing upon himself judgment. Which what Paul tells the Jews in Acts 13:46 “…Since you thrust it aside (The Gospel) and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we are turning to the Gentiles.”
So the question for us is,
"what are we going to do with Jesus? are we going to reject him and thus bring judgment on ourself? Our are we going to embrace him, and receive forgiveness of sins that only can be found in Christ Jesus our Lord?"
"As for me and my house we will serve the Lord Jesus."
Monday, July 28, 2008
I was on a friend's blog today where he is doing single paragraph credo's (i believe.) I was reading them one by one, when his entry on July 15th caught my eye, "Credo-on Limited Atonement."
Heres an excerpt of his blog
some have re-labeled it as a definite atonement-
that is that Jesus died for a specific group of people.
These Calvinists point to the elect
as that “definite" group in favor of limiting the atonement.
On this one, I part company with historical Calvinists
and plead for 1 John2 where John writes that
Jesus did not only die for our sins but for the sins of
'the whole world'."
I have two comments to make about the above statement.
1. Definite atonement is a better word, for Christ died for his elect in a very definite way. He went to the cross for his bride, he was crushed by God the Father for their sins. Christ went to the cross to die for his elect. It was their sins that he paid for. Isaiah 53:11 states that Christ, 'will make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities'. Note it is the people whose iniquities are bore that are accounted as righteous. If Christ died for 'the whole world' in the same way, then all would have their sins bore by Christ and hence accounted righteous. Which the Bible clearly teaches otherwise.
2. Calvinists only use the phrase "Limited atonement" because if fits with the TULIP acronym.
Most of the opponents to Reformed Theology try to say that Calvinists limit what Christ did on the cross. We proclaim that Christ really saved sinners, that his work on the cross secured his elect. His sacrifice didn't just make it possible for people to come to him (hence guarantees nobody's salvation), but it made it certain that those he died for... would come.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
People today like to say beliefs are not important, it's what you do that matters. I remember sitting in a Sunday school class were the speaker was asking what is better; correct beliefs or right action. Then he proceeded to make a straw man against correct beliefs and then knocked it over in favor of right actions. The problem is you can separate them, beliefs and actions are two sides of the same coin.
What I believe comes out in every conversation, every meeting, in all areas of my life.
My point is, that if one has a wrong view of God, Salvation, Justification, the Church, the Bible, then it will become more and more evident the more you know someone. The more they talk the more the reveal what they believe, it doesn't matter the circumstances, place or topic. What they believe at their core will come out.
That's why as Christians we need to know Biblical Truth, we need to study to show our selfs approved of God, that we would not be deceived by false belief systems in the church or the world.
So I invite you to open up your Bible and read it, study it, memorize it. Let us not dumb down doctrine, but lets push on into the deeper truths of God's word. So that in the every day arenas of our life, Biblical Truth comes out.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I have seen a lot of teaching illustrations in my time. Some good some bad, Some biblical and others border on heresy. I heard about one today were a Pastor ended up breaking his wrist! Some times a great idea needs to be run past others to make sure it's not a stupid idea... Story of Pastor and motorcycle illustration found here.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
What to wear while attending the UFC "revival".
2. Chest protector
4. Pepper Spray.
Better yet, if you want to be knead in the stomach just join your local Karate place. At lest you'll learn how to defend yourself and return blow for blow.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Don't you just love that Line? That's your opinion, your way of thinking, well, it's works for you but not for me...
In our post-modern world, to declare that your looking for truth is a praise worthy thing. But to say that you found it, well, how arrogant can you be. Thats so narrow minded.
Yet when someone asked me how I respond to statements above I just say, "It's not my opinion, it's Gods. He's has the only opinion that matters in this world.".
If truth be told there are a lot of things in the Bible that offend me. Yet, they are still true, and by God's grace I believe them and have learned to live with the fact that I'm not sovereign, God is. By God's grace over time, there are doctrines that I now hold dear, that I once was repulsed by. They have become sweater over time as I study more and more who God is, and what his word says.
So yes there is absolute truth, and no, it's not always fun to hear, yet it has the power to make you a child of God.
May Jesus come soon!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Last night I was reading in Wayne Grudems Systematic Theology and was once again brought to tears when pondering the Atonement. Chapter 27 of his Systematics is all about the Atonement of Christ. The part that I was reading was on the Cross, what happened there. He categorized it in four parts. 1.Physical Pain and Death, 2. The pain of bearing sin, 3. Abandonment, 4. bearing the wrath of God.
Each one worse then the next. As bad as the pain of the cross was Jesus took on our sins. All of his very being must of been repulsed by this, his whole life on earth he detested sin, in the pre-incarnate he hatted sin, and now he became sin. As if becoming sin wasn't bad enough, it caused him to be abandon. The closeness of the Father was was gone, he faced the guilt and punishment of million alone. finally he boar our wrath for us. He faced my eternal punishment and drank it dry, not only for me, but for millions of the elect.
"Then at last Jesus knew his suffering was nearing completion.He knew he had consciously borne all the wrath of the Father against our sins, for God's anger had abated and the awful heaviness of sin was being remove. He knew that all that remained was to yield up his spirit to his heavenly Father and die. With a shout of victory Jesus cried out, "it is finished!". Then with a loud voice he once more cried out, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And then he voluntarily gave up the life that no one could take from him, and he died. As Isaiah had predicted, "he poured out his soul to death" and "Bore the sin of many". God the Father saw "the fruit of the travail of his soul" and was "satisfied"." -W.G Systematic Theology
Thursday, June 19, 2008
One often hears that mankind was tricked in the garden by the serpent. Yet this doesn't square with the biblical facts. Adam willingly ate of the apple, he knew that the serpent was lieing.
...Adam was not deceived,
but the woman was deceived
and became a transgressor."
So the question remains, "Why Adam!" why would you fall, what made you do it? how could an imperfect thought or actions arise in a perfect world, were sin had no dominion?
The question comes back to who is sovereign. Is God Sovereign or is Man? Did that Cross happen because of the Fall, or did the Fall happen because of the Cross?
"He chose us before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."-Ephesians 1
"and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." Revelations 13
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The ESV is a great Bible.
In a time when bible's are readily available, this bible stands out from among many.
It's highly readable, yet stays true to the original text. The ESV is a word for word translation, that's readable.
The new ESV Study Bible is even better. Sadly, biblical illiteracy runs ramped in the church and in its pulpit. The ESV Study bible can help guide the student of the bible into more in depth realities of God's word. Just check out the into to the book of Revelations.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The Number one selling book at Christian Books is the heretical book called the Shack.
This is a telling indicator of the Church in American.
It's also a shame for Christian books.
I'm thankful for Westminster Bookstore who stays true to their calling of being a light in the mist of a society who will sell anything for greedy gain.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Sam Storms gives a great overview of the book. I have personally read "Why we're not Emergent", and loved it. Kevin and Ted do a great job in giving an overview of this misguided movement. Click on me and I'll take you to Sam's overview of the book.
One can pick up a copy of this book at Monergism.com. It's a great, fun read.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
Notice the personal touch the Psalmist gives, "Our" God. Not some random God, but his God. A God he relates to, a God he believes in and a God who transcends this world, yet is still active in it.
This personal God that the Psalmist writes about is sovereign, "he does ALL that he pleases". That little article"all" has strong overtones with it. It implies nothing hinders this God, nothing can stop this God, nothing is able to withstand Him when he decides to act. This Sovereign God does all that he pleases, and all that he does is pleasing unto him self, none can with stand or with hold from him. Yet he's also personal and relational; the Psalmist cries out our God.
As Followers of Jesus we can take courage that he's sovereign, he's personal, and that he does all that he pleases, and all that he does is pleasing unto himself. This gives us great hope and security in this life, because we are his children.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I have no gospel to preach."
Once again a voice from the past needs to be heard in our day. If the Gospel isn't Christ and him crucified for our sins, then as a generation, were lost. The Gospel isn't about social reform, caring for the poor, or being GREEN. It's about the God-Man (Jesus) who came down in human flesh, who lived a sinless life, yet was crucified in our place. He paid my dept, he removed God's wrath towards me and he imparted his righteousness into my life. That's the Gospel. The social reform, caring for the poor, and even being green should and will come forth out of a life changed, yet it's a result of a life being change by the gospel not the Gospel it's self.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Your adversary doesn't sleep.
He doesn't lose heart in pursuit.
He faints not.
None can withhold his hand.
His sword never dulls.
His hatred burns forever.
Turn, repent, call out for Mercie...before it's to late.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
for he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed."
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them,
"they Cried to the Lord in their distress" vs. "They went and woke him, saying 'Save us, Lord; we are perishing'".
"He made the storm be still" vs. "he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, an there was a great calm".
In the Psalms the word for Lord is the supreme title for God (Adonia, which means sovereign one). Hence in the Psalms you have the Sovereign One calming the storm when his people call unto him, and in the N.T you have Jesus calming the storm when his disciples call out to him.
The disciples probably would be at least familiar with the Psalms, especially this one, since it deals with their livelihood (fishing, being in a boat, etc.). What they once memorized and had to recite became a reality in their lives.
No wonder the Disciples were more fearful after the threat of the storm was past, Adonia was in the boat with them...
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Philemon our beloved fellow worker.
Philemon isn't just an ordinary Christian, he's active in his faith. Philemons faith isn't just something he did once upon a time, walked an isle, said a quick prayer, winked at the evangelists. Faith was active, it wasn't only vertical minded but also horizontally focused. Philemon loved other believers, he consistently refreshed others. In fact it was what he was known for.
Paul in a letter to Philemon, mentions all of these things. Paul reminds Philemon of what he's done for the Lord, he reminds him of his past faithfulness to Christ by his service towards others.
So far this is great, Philemon is a godly man, people recongnized it. Yet over this seemingly great person of faith and works there is a shadow. Philemon was a slave owner, one of his slaves, Onesimus ran away after possible stealing from Philemon. Onesimus wasn't a follower of Christ, and it bags to reason, why? Philemon who is known for his Christian love for believers some how fell short in is love for slaves? or maybe Philemon would tell his slaves about Jesus and Onesimus just refused to listen, after all he's a slave. Why would he chose to become a slave to another, that is Christ. Maybe he was hoping that one day Philemon would be thrown into prison for his beliefs, after all other Christians were be imprisoned during this time. Philemon wasn't imprisoned for his faith, so Onesimus ran. We don't know.
Yet within the providence of God, this runaway slave made his way up to Rome and some how landed within the circle of Paul's influence. God works in mysterious ways. Onesimus hears the gospel, and God opens up his heart so that he response in faith, and now he's a child of God.
Onesimus is free, both physically and spiritual. He's with Paul, he's a child of God, yet he's wronged a brother in Christ, Philemon his master. Paul breaks Jewish protocol, and sends a runaway slave back to his master, yet in reality he's sending back a brother to be reconciled to a fellow brother. Onesimus agrees and the expression "tack up your cross and follow me" takes on a new meaning for him. Following Christ isn't always easy, it's not about having your best life now, or finding your purpose. It's about following after Christ, no matter the cost.
Philemon has to make a choice. Does he receive Onesimus back or does he do what is culturally acceptable and even expected...capital punishment. He lives in a culture and a way of life that is built upon slavery. If one slave runs away and isn't punished others will follow. He needs to die, or the whole of society could claps. Also not to mention the disgrace he must feel.
Yet know Philemon isn't just dealing with a useless slave, he's dealing with a brother in Christ.
One whom, just like him was saved by grace. Philemon has to chose, extend grace to an undeserving slave, or punish. Philemon, I believe, thinks about a cross, and about the man who hung on it so he didn't have to face the wrath of God. Philemon choses to forgive, after all, Onesimus's offenses were nothing in comparison to what Christ forgave him.
Philemon like Onesimus takes up his cross and follows Christ.
We live in a time were Christianity is cheep. Christianity cost nothing, requires nothing, changes nothing. Yet our modern, or post-modern Christianity doesn't square with biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity is costly, it counter culture, it can cost you your life.
I pray that God would raise up a generation of Christians like Onesimus and Philemon. People who will take up their cross and follow their Master. Men and women who are more concerned about living for Jesus and pleasing him, then they are about anything else.
I pray that God would help empower me, that I may also "take up my cross and follow Christ" no matter the situation or cost.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The major theme that runs through the whole Bible, is the theme of redemption. when interpreting the scripture one needs to keep this in mined. One may ask, isn't this forcing a pre-condition on every text of the Bible?
Yes, and no.
Jesus when talking to the pharisees said, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
Also another time Jesus talks with some disciples, "
So to answer the question, yes it is forcing a pre-condition on a text, but no, one does so with the authority of Jesus. All of scripture testifie to the Son of God, they either look forward to his plan of redemption (the fulfillment of the Promise), or the look back to the Promise fulfilled.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Why does Paul open up his letter with so many other greetings, when it's a personal letter to Philemon?
Why does Paul close with so many greetings from other brethren, when the letter to the Colossians does the same?
Why does Paul directly break this Old Testament command? Is there possible another command that supersedes it?
Who is Epaphras? Why does Paul mention him?
**If your having trouble with interpretations (the how to), please email me.**
Monday, April 28, 2008
The homework for the next meeting was to bring two observations in each paragraph to interpretation. Each observation needs two interpretations to go with it.
Since verse 8-16 is one of the main paragraphs in this letter you should do at least five observations to interpretations.
Remember this is were your paragraph titles come in handy. A paragraph title is the main point in each paragraph . When doing your interpretations, pick the main observations that would apply to the main point of each paragraph.
This is the format for each paragraph, except for the 5th which gets five instead of two.
Observation: "Paul (who), a prisoner (repeated word/theme) for Christ Jesus (who/deity)"
Notice: Paul mentions his name in this letter three times, and refers to being a prisoner five times.
Examine: This is the only letter Paul starts out with mentioning that he's a prisoner. In all the other letters he mainly mentions his apostleship, and sometimes a servant/slave/bond-servant, depending on your translation.
1st "Paul, a prisoner"
2nd "I, Paul, an old man"
3rd "I, Paul, write this with my own hand"
Prisoner (repeated word/theme):
1st Prisoner for Christ
2nd A prisoner also for Christ
3rd My imprisonment
4th Imprisonment for the gospel
5th Epaphras, my fellow prisoner
People are being put into prison for the sake of the gospel. Both Paul and Epaphras are in prison.
Why: Mention prison?
Paul is in prison for the sake of the gospel, which he keeps emphesising. Paul's faithfulness to the gospel led him to lay down his rights of freedom, and in the same way, now he is asking Philemon to lay down his rights and take up forgiveness.
Paul is putting a strong but subtle touch in his letter. He wants Philemon to know that the favor he is asking, is not from a place of authority (although he is) but from a place of sincerely living out the gospel, with all of it's implications.
why does Paul mention himself 3 times?
Paul is making sure that Philemon knows that he is the author of this letter, and at crucial times in the letter he invokes his name to reassure Philemon.
***interpretations can build on each other, or they can stand on their own. As in the example above the second interpretation builds off of the first, but the third stands on it's own.***
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Look up: Philemon, Onesimus, house church, slaves etc... then once you've gleaned all you can from both the internal (The Bible) and external (Dictionaries and other helps) historical background, you'll begin to bounce all your observations off of the historical info and come up with interpretation: what did it mean to the Original Reader.
Observations: refer to your chart/handout from first week.
Notice: pick an observation
Examine: mention every thing about the observation
Historical Background: The only binding cultural background is the internal background found in the bible.
Interpretation: What did it mean to the original readers.
Friday, April 25, 2008
BASIC REQUIRED INFORMATION
1. Critical Method:
a) Who wrote the book?
b) To whom was it written?
c) When & were was it written?
2. Historical Method:
a) What is the historical setting of the book? What is the culture of the audience?
b) If it is an epistle, when was the church founded?
c) Who makes up the church?
d) What are their strengths and weaknesses?
3. Literary Method
a) What is the type of literature? (Refer to last page in booklet)
c) If an epistle, what are the parts and references?
. name of writer
. name of recipient
. prayer, wish, or thanksgiving
. body of letter
. final greeting
4. Survey Method (use 2-3 sentences for each of the following)
a) What is the main idea of the book?b) What is the major reason that the book was written?
Remember, your observations will help you with the historical background.
Review what you observed, then pull out of the text history. I.e "church in your house"-historical we know that the early church to which Paul was writing meat in a house. Another example would be "I Paul a prisoner for Christ" Historicaly people are being put into prison do to their faith in Jesus.
Also refer to Colossians, for further historical background. Philemon is just one member of a church (which meats in his house), he's part of the church of Colossi. Historical things mentioned in the book of Colossians would also apply to the book of Philemon.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In the observations step, one of the last things to look for is the key verse.
The key verse is a verse that summarizes the main idea of the book (it can be more then one verse), it tells why the book was written. This can be done at anytime in the observation method, yet usually it's one of the last things I will look for. By the time you've color coded all your observations, you'll have a good idea what the main point of the book is.
Just a friendly hint, there is one figure of speech in the book of Philemon that is (not the key verse) a very important key to unlocking the reason why the book was written.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Color Coding is a useful tool in the Inductive Method. Not only does it get you into the text to pick out each observation, it helps you see how the flow of a book is laid out. Remember good observations are key to good interpretations. The more you see, the more you have to build a biblical interpretation.
So color away your text.
Also just as a side note, in the observation process were just looking to see what is there, not to interpret it.
A couple of Key observations for the book of Philemon are:
2. Authors Progression.(Follow his logic)
3. Figures of Speech. (F.O.S.)
4. Geographical Locations. (both literally and figuratively: in Christ, in him, in the heavenly places.)
I'll be posting updates all this week.
The homework is to finish your Observations for the book of Philemon and read the book of Colossians before class. It would also be good to do your observations on the last chapter in Colossians.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Types of Literature
In the Bible
Many people don’t realize it, but every time they pick up their bible they’re really picking up 66 separate books, that have main message. They start reading in Genesis and make their way through Revelation and sometimes don’t even realize that the BIBLE has many different authors. People don’ t stop to think about the culture the text/book was written in or that fact that the author had an adjenda when he/she first wrote the book/letter. Another thing they don’t realize is that the Bible is filled not only with different authors but also different styles of literature. Understanding the different types of Literature can help in how one interprets the bible, and a certain type of passage.
I want to give an over view of the types of Literature that are mentioned in the bible and then explain very briefly about them.
1. Historical Narrative.
3. Wisdom literature
- Historical Narratives: these books (as the name implies) give a historical account of what happened. They tell history. One thing they don’t tell is whether or not what is recorded was right or wrong the author usually leaves that up to the reader to determine.
- Psalms: All the other books in the Old Testament talk about what God has done or is going to do. They are God’s words to man, but in the Psalms it mans words to God. The Psalms show a person relation ship to God in very poetic words: their struggles, joy, life etc… They express worship towards God and they also can be prophecies
Psalms will often talk or deal with theological ideas, but in and of themselves one should not get their theology from them alone.
- Wisdom literature: These are short sayings that show what should happen do to right living and life style. The problem with these is that many people when they read them look at them as commands and promises.
- Prophets: The prophets were God’s covenant police in the Old Testament. When the people of Israel sinned, God would remind them about the curses and judgment coming on them through these servants. They would call Israel back to repentance, tell them what would happen if they didn’t, and they also would predict a time of restoration for God’s people.
- Gospels: Are the teachings about Jesus, and the teachings of Jesus. One must keep in mind the historical context of the gospels (e.i. the culture, people, beliefs…). Also one must realize that each of the Gospel writers had a different reason for writing their Gospel. When interpreting them one MUST understand Figures of speech and how to interpret parables.
- Epistles: Letters that addressed specific needs of their 1st readers. Since they are letters one needs to read the whole letter and not just a part, since it is impossible to get the context of a letter if one reads only the beginning or the ending of the letter. One must also remember that the letter was written to a specific people group in a specific culture and time. To understand what the author is telling them it’s necessary to understand the culture. (One can decipher culture from other Epistles and also the book of Acts helps with this. It is profitable but not necessary to have a historical/cultural help out side of the bible)
- Apocalyptic: This is a literary type that was popular between 200 BC and 100 AD. It is very symbolic in nature. It was birthed out of times of persecution, and also filled the gap of silent years when God stopped talking to his people thought the prophets. This literature is highly structured.